Tessa Coates: Primates (3 stars)

Tessa Coates: Primates

credit: Marco Vittur

A promising debut about biology, anthropology and the word 'penis'

This is Tessa Coates' first solo show away from her Massive Dad skit-troupe cohorts and she does herself proud. Using her anthropology degree to good effect, Coates takes a fresh approach to the well-worn path of being single and looking for love while all around you are getting married. The science is a nice framing device, giving a bit of basic biological background on why it's culturally desirable to be an independent woman even if our biology says otherwise. Though that might not necessarily tally with being monogamous, as nature appears to be down with the millennials and into polygamy after all.

Coates herself is a thoroughly likeable presence, albeit a little nervy; that's partly her stage persona but could also be down to this being her first show, which will of course iron itself out. That she's cringingly embarrassed at even saying the word 'penis' makes her even more endearing.

The gags are liberally spread with Coates employing an easy, off-the-cuff style and there are some big laughs in here including a cracking routine about JK Rowling before she was famous. In this promising debut, there are also couple of imaginative analogies employed too, particularly evolution presented as the stages of a party.

Pleasance Courtyard, 5–26 Aug, 3.30pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8). Previews until 4 Aug, £6.

Tessa Coates: Primates

  • 3 stars

Berk’s Nest and United Agents One third of Massive Dad – 'Hilarious' ★★★★ (Guardian) – Tessa has an absolutely useless degree in Anthropology and some very big questions about how we got here. Her debut show combines character and story-telling with very intense academic research. Which is surely what everyone wants…

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